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ideals — “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so."
and no man that hath a name By falsehood and corruption doth it shame.
As a man who has a good name, an ideal character, does not counterfeit and debase gold, so a man who has real virtue will safeguard its purity. This brings us at once to an understanding of the second passage, the solution of which includes the whole point of view that has now been set forth. She is here addressing her husband personally:
Keep then, fair league and truce with thy true bed;
I live distained, thou undishonored. This distained is the reading of the First Folio (1623), the word at that time having the same meaning as it has now — stained. It is a poetical usage. She is therefore saying that so long as her husband has violated the relation between them, her own virtue has been stained while he has as good a reputation
As commentators could never see how the husband's chastity could be considered as affecting the wife's chastity so long as her own acts were pure, they have considered that distained was a printer's error in the original edition. The word was therefore changed to unstained, an emendation that has been accepted by editors for about a hundred and fifty years. The change was made by Hanmer, 1744; and the present-day standard among
thach a name
FIES IN SHAKE SOME TEXTUAL DIFFICULTIES IN SHAKESPEARE 245 good or ba Shakespeare scholars, the Globe edition, still
has unstained. We should put back per
manently the word as it stands in the First th it shame. Folio. It becomes consistent as soon as we | name, an
understand the tenor of Adriana's remarks as
a whole. feit and
It is interesting, with this general view of virtue w
marriage in mind, to re-read “The Phænix and
the Turtle.” Here we see Shakespeare expassage ,
pressing the same idea in a more abstract and h. She is metaphysical way.
So they loved as love in twain y:
Had the essence but in one;
is at once t
hy true bed
So between them love did shine
of the E time have stained. -fore sa iolated : virtue he
Property was thus appalled,
Reason in itself confounded,
Simple were so well compounded.
in a position to understand, that each was the other's self — “mine” in every regard that me could convey; and in the same thorough acceptation that Adriana regarded married union. This idea was native to Shakespeare's mind; and in the play he simply gave it more concrete illustration. That the critics of all time have been so confused to get sense out of it simply proves our explanation as Shakespearean, for there indeed, as the poet says, we see reason in itself confounded.”
So far I have done little more than to state the basis of my explanation; but as my proposition is to restore and establish the original text for all time, and give it this wholly consistent interpretation, the reader will want something more in the way of proof. This is easily furnished.
Turn to “The Comedy of Errors,” ii, 2, 120 to 131 and hear Adriana lecturing her husband (as she supposes).
How comes it now my husband, O, how comes it,
As take from me thyself and not me too. Adriana here gives it as metaphysical a statement as we find in “The Phoenix and the
Turtle” — marriage a Duality of two that are one essence just as the Trinity is of three.
But a less ingenious statement will bring it home at once to the everyday intellect. Farther on she makes this very definite statement as to her own relation to other women and her husband's unchastity. She considers it her own disgrace.
I am possess'd with an adulterate blot;
This proves our interpretation of the doubtful passages absolutely. All that she says is consistent with the point of view set down. The “unstained" of modern editions is wrong. Nor must editors who retain “distained” do it upon the basis of Knight who gave it a definition opposite to its sense by considering that Shakespeare was confused in his vocabulary and meant unstained from the standpoint of “dis-stained.”